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Explainer: Why ECOWAS suspended Mali till 2022

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THE Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on Sunday, suspended the Republic of Mali until February 2022.

The ICIR explains the reasons for the suspension.

The decision to suspend Mali was reached on Sunday during an Extra-Ordinary meeting to review the crisis in the country.

The Summit, which was held in Accra, Ghana, was attended by all 15-member states, including the ECOWAS Special Envoy and Mediator to Mali Goodluck Jonathan.

According to ECOWAS, following the report presented by Jonathan, the member states decided to suspend Mali from its institution.

In nine months, there have been two coup d’etats in Mali.

Earlier in August 2020, Former Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita had been detained by military personnel and forcefully made to resign.

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Before his resignation, there had been demonstrations across the country as citizens trooped out to protest against Mali’s bad economy and corruption in Keita’s government.

Following Keita’s exit, an interim and transitional government was constituted through the intervention of ECOWAS.

The interim government brought in President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane, who were to ensure transitional government by February 2022.

Malians protest against President Keita

However, eight months into Ndaw and Ouane-led transitional government, the military, again, staged another coup that led to the resignation of Malian interim leaders, upsetting the country’s March to civilian rule.

The second coup was carried out by Assimi Goïta, a colonel in the Malian military, who had also led the coup against Keita.

Goita on Wednesday declared himself the interim president of Mali after the resignation of the transitional government.

After the repeated coup, ECOWAS has now decided that it is time to suspend Mali from the institution.

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ECOWAS also decided that it was important for Mali to respect the democratic process for ascending to power, in conformity with the 2001 ECOWAS Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance as well. The group condemned actions that led to ongoing instability in the country.

It also urged that a new civilian prime minister be nominated with immediate effect, adding that a new inclusive government should be formed to proceed with the transition programme.

ECOWAS further stated that an earlier decision made in Accra for a transition period of 18 months should be maintained, meaning that the date of 27th February 2022 already announced for the presidential election should be maintained.

During the election, ECOWAS said the head of the transition, the vice president and the prime minister of the transition should not, under any circumstance, be candidates for the forthcoming presidential election.

What does the suspension mean?

Checks by The ICIR shows that Article 77 of the ECOWAS Treaty provides that the institution has the power to suspend a member state that violates its rules.

According to the treaty, sanctions on member states could include suspension of new ECOWAS loans or assistance, suspension of disbursement on ongoing projects or assistance programmes.

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Other sanctions include: exclusion from presenting candidates for statutory and professional posts, suspension of voting rights, and suspension from participating in the activities of ECOWAS.

Author profile

Lukman Abolade is an Investigative reporter with The ICIR. Reach out to him via labolade@icirnigeria.org, on twitter @AboladeLAA and FB @Correction94

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